Fully vaccinated populations remain low in outlying areas of Kern; County conducts outreach efforts to educate communities on vaccine

June 1, 2021 /

Although 36 percent of Kern’s eligible population has become vaccinated, some of Kern County’s cities in outlying areas prove to have the lowest vaccination rates in the County.

Cities like Fellows, Taft, Maricopa, Onyx and California City have the lowest percentage of their city’s population fully vaccinated. Only 15 percent of the Fellows’ population is fully vaccinated, while 13 percent of Maricopa’s population is fully vaccinated, according to data provided by the State of California.

“Vaccination remains the safest and quickest way to immunity and those 12 and older are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Public Health officials say.  

Although Kern’s outlying cities have low vaccination rates, the good news is these cities also have some of the lowest COVID-19 transmission rates, according to the Kern County Public Health Department’s interactive map.

In Taft, just 10 percent of the population has contracted COVID-19, while only 3.5 percent of Maricopa’s population and 2.1 percent of Onyx’s population has contracted the virus.

Some areas of Kern County have vaccination rates that are double and triple the rates in these outlying areas in Kern. This can be seen in Southwest Bakersfield.

Bakersfield’s 93314 zip code has a vaccinated population of 42 percent and the 93311 zip code has an even higher vaccination rate with 52 percent. In both areas, less than 13 percent of these zip codes’ populations have contracted COVID-19.

Then there are other cities in Kern that have the largest percentages of COVID-19 cases but have low vaccination rates.

According to Kern County Public Health, nearly 20 percent of Wasco’s population — the highest in Kern — has contracted the virus, but only 25 percent of the city’s residents are fully vaccinated. In Delano, 15 percent of the population has contracted COVID-19, while only 36 percent of Delano’s population is fully vaccinated.

To help educate the community on COVID-19 vaccines and get residents vaccinated, the Kern County Public Health Department has been conducting outreach efforts throughout the County. Public Health workers have conducted door-to-door canvassing, providing face-to-face contact with residents and offering education. Workers have canvassed in Kern’s zip codes that fall in the State defined quartile 1 and 2, which is all of the with the exception of six zip codes.

Beginning in February, the Department has also been deploying mobile vaccine units in every area of Kern County, according to Michelle Corson, the spokeswoman for the Public Health Department.

With these mobile clinics, up to 650 vaccines can be administered a day; however, a typical mobile event administers around 150 doses per day, Corson said.

The Department has also created a Park educational COVID-19 campaign. The park education campaign will be launched in all parks within Kern County, which is approximately 225 parks, with the exception of West Side Park District in Taft, Corson said. 

Kern Public Health also also created Vaccine information Booths in Wasco, Bakersfield, unincorporated areas of Kern County and Lamont.

“We are working on locations in Delano and Taft currently,” Corson said.

Those interested in becoming vaccinated can do so at the Kern County Fairgrounds Mass Vaccination Clinic. This clinic offers the Pfizer vaccine from the comfort of your car. The clinic operates Wednesday thru Sunday, 9:30am to 4pm. Appointments can be made at www.MyTurn.ca.gov but are not required.  Other vaccinating providers are available throughout the community and can be found on the Vaccinating Providers Map at https://phweb.kerncounty.com/Html5Viewer/index.html?viewer=COVID19Vaccination#

Those interested in finding a mobile vaccination site near them can do so by heading to: https://phweb.kerncounty.com/Html5Viewer/index.html?viewer=COVID19Vaccination# 

The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for 12 and older, while Moderna and J&J vaccines are approved for 18 and older. The Public Health COVID-19 vaccine nurse hotline is available from 7AM to 7PM, seven days a week. Call or text 661-677-4177 to ask your vaccine related questions. 

Featured photo by Henry Barrios

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.